Thursday, 25 June 2009

Bank Holiday Accident (One for the Lancet!)

Both a cautionary tale and an unbelievable one.

You will NOT believe it.

It is not technical and in no way relates to my job.

By the way, this tale is not for the squeamish.

No. It really isn't.

"But surely the bank holiday was weeks ago. Why wait until now to tell us ?"

Well my ability and inclination to use a keyboard were affected by the accident I shall tell you about.

Now for those who are squeamish, could I suggest that you go elsewhere? Perhaps you could check out one of my colleagues' blogs?

Still here? Well you have been warned!

So there I was looking forward to a nice relaxing bank holiday after having just recovered from a nasty bout of gastroenteritis courtesy of my stay at the Hilton Pyramids hotel, Cairo. I reckon it was the buffet. Well it certainly wasn't Mr Heineken and his good friend Amstel!

The sun was shining and I thought I would start with the mowing. I fired up the petrol mower and hit the lawn. I had just completed two lengths of the garden when it was clear to me that the outlet to the basket had become blocked due to the damp grass.

So what do you imagine I did?

Now I don't want to come across as arrogant but I do like to think of myself as both intelligent and full of wisdom gained by a rich 46 years of life's experiences.

So naturally I put my hand into the basket and started scooping out the damp grass that was blocking the outlet.

It didn't take long for me to reach far enough in for the blade to cut through my fingertip.

Yes of course the mower was still running!

Now, being the workaholic that I am, I was far too busy chastising myself for wiping out a weekend's chores that it took my mind off the mess that was my right index finger.

30 minutes later I was walking into Burnley Accident and Emergency. My mistake; Urgent Care centre. We have been downsized.

Vita, my lovely nurse told me everything I needed to know about our forthcoming holiday to Florida while patching up my finger which REALLY hurt. Actually, when I said 'our' I meant the Stirpe family, not Vita and I!

Went home for a lie down and lots of painkillers.

So that week was interesting. I delivered a Core Web Technologies course in Leeds to a sympathetic group who overlooked the many accidents in Visual Studio 2008 due to my having to click with my middle finger. Don't get me started on my typing ability!

By weekend, the pain was almost gone but I was starting with an eye infection.

GP's don't "do weekends" so I had to wait until the Monday to get an appointment.

Actually I got in to see the practice nurse. Eye infections don't justify an appointment with the GP.

She told me that I had an eye infection and prescribed some drops.

I told her that I had a lot of pain in my left eye as if there were something lodged there.

She didn't take a look as she "didn't do eyes". She squirmed as she said this. She suggested that I try the drops for a few days as they would probably clear it up.

I headed to London for a four day Silverlight course armed with my drops.

As the week went on, the infection started to settle in my right eye but there was still something in my left eye.

I managed to get through the week until I could get to my local opticians on Saturday.

I was pretty sure that they "did eyes".

They did and within minutes he had spotted an object lodged in the centre of my cornea that had now been there for 13 days.

He kindly rang the eye ward at Burnley General (we still have one of those).

I got a lift there and within minutes the doctor was busy with his tweezers.

Just let me pause for a minute. My eyes are watering at the moment.

OK. I'm good.

When he's finished, he tells me that instead of a foreign body being embedded in my cornea, it was in fact a flap of the cornea that had been sliced open.

He removed it.

So here's the theory ..

When the blade cut through my fingernail, a piece pushed the laws of physics and probability to the limit and flew up to slice through my cornea.

Now you might think we have reached the unbelievable bit. No. That was just the improbable bit. The unbelievable bit will be along any second.

So immediate was the relief from pain that I felt positively frisky and I elected to walk home via the town centre as I felt that a drink at my local Wetherspoons was called for.

Furthermore, I was able to go to the 7th annual Northern Dressage Ball that evening and had a great time. The only problem was that I thought I had taken the wrong glasses.

I have two pairs. My readers and my distance glasses. Most of the night my vision was a bit blurred and so I assumed that I had brought my readers.

By dessert I realised my mistake. I hadn't brought the wrong glasses.

I simply didn't need them anymore.

My sight was better without my glasses than with them.

For the past couple of weeks, I have carried my glasses around with me everywhere. However, apart from perhaps the first hour after waking, I can simply see better without them.

Now that's unbelievable!

So shoving your hand in a lawn mower is a lot cheaper than laser eye surgery but perhaps carries a lower chance of success.

By the way. The finger is healing nicely now.

See you soon

Phil Stirpé
"I don't do average!"

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